A DUI checkpoint is a controversial and questionable act in the context of driving under the influence. According to the 4th Amendment of the American Constitution, a citizen is protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. Each car stop and “pullover” is considered a seizure in DUI cases. This also applies to a situation where a search was conducted without a warrant. Especially when the law enforcement officer suspects that a driver is under the influence. To counter these contradictions the state of Florida has come up with an order that sobriety roadblocks be legal all over the state, provided that law enforcement officers follow the guidelines of a lawful DUI checkpoint.
What is a DUI Checkpoint?
Usually a sobriety checkpoint blocks an entire route. Cars are lined up in a way where law enforcement officers can stop specific vehicles and pull them over for further testing. These checkpoints are usually done during the night or early in the morning on holidays and weekends.
A DUI checkpoint is marked with cones, lights and traffic signs. Rotating lights can usually be seen and the occasional sound of sirens. When stopped, the arresting officer asks for the driver’s identification, proof of valid insurance, and car registration. At that moment the officer is now looking for signs of impairment, such as bloodshot eyes, scent of alcohol, or slurred speech. These are subjective assessments, a more proper and comprehensive investigation is conducted when an officer asks you to take the chemical tests like blood, breathalyzer and urine testing.
Guidelines of a Legal DUI Checkpoint in Jacksonville FL
Now that sobriety roadblocks are considered to be constitutional, the following guidelines should be properly
completed by the acting law enforcement offices. Any violation or incorrect compliance of these guidelines may result in the charges being dropped by the prosecution. The checkpoint must be well documented and well-publicized. The date, time and location should neither be altered nor taken in advance. Every DUI checkpoint should ensure that public safety is their first priority. The roadblock should not impede or disturb the general public. These roadblocks must have proper demarcations and early warning devices that drivers are approaching the checkpoint. Law enforcers shall make their presence clear as well as the way they their conduct searches, provided that they are qualified and trained to do the DUI investigations. No prejudices of sex, status, race or age shall be observed. All procedures shall be applied consistently. Selection of vehicles to stop should also be well-documented. Each law enforcement officer shall perform a legal duty found in the written report and these duties shall be strictly adhered to. As in all cases, get advice from a lawyer.